Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra
If we want something worldly that isn’t haram, should you have full hope in Allah that He will give it to you exactly how you want it in this world? For example, you hope for something of this world, such as marrying a specific girl.
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
It is important to understand from the outset that as Muslims, we put our hopes in Allah and not in the things we want from Allah for our worldly life. Our hope in Allah is that we attain His divine mercy, forgiveness, and blessings in this life and the next through following His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). We hope for His well-being and protection and everything else we need.
However, we still need and desire things in this life, so we are taught to ask Allah to fulfill these needs. Having hope for things that are good and likely to occur is praiseworthy because we are taught to have hope when we supplicate to Allah for our needs. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,
“When one of you makes dua’, then let them be firm in their request [to Allah, and not say ‘O Allah, if you want’], because no one can force Allah.” [Bukhari]
However, we do not necessarily put all our hopes in things we ask for in this world as though they must happen and nothing else is acceptable. This is because Allah Most High may know that something that we want is bad for us (such as a specific person for marriage), or He may want to give us something that is better for us.
Seeking What is Best for Us
This is why, in the “Prayer of Seeking Good” (Dua al-Istikhara), part of what we are taught to say is:
“O Allah, if You know that this matter is good for me with regard to my religion, my livelihood, and the end of my affair, then decree it for me, facilitate it for me, and grant me blessing in it. And if You know that this matter is not good for me with regard to my religion, my livelihood and the end of my affair then turn it away from me and me from it; and decree for me better than it, wherever it may be, and make me content with it.” [Bukhari]
See details on the Prayer of Seeking Guidance below. In it, one understands that we can want and hope for something for ourselves, but only Allah knows if it is good for us in every way, so we ask for what is truly best for us and to be saved from what is bad for us.
In this way, we still pursue what we think is good, but our ultimate hopes are in Allah, and therefore we will never be disappointed because He is Most Generous, Merciful, and Wise.
[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.